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SOUTHWEST’S RURAL ECONOMY STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE


ANY EXIT OFF I-40 LEADS TO HARD TIMES…NOWHERE is it more telling-just how much America has frayed between the spaces–than between the spaces–TUMCUMCARI New Mexico lies between Amarillo Texas and Santa Rosa, NM or Albuquerque. All stops along the great way or Highway 40, the main EAST – WEST cooridor across AMERICA which offers an interesting cross section of the American Dream and how it has played out into new challenges and the loss of an American Way of Life. This roadside view was maturing in the South West Sun and had begun to melt into the Land of Enchantment, soon the summer glare will take it all. Til then it lies testament to another time, people’s dreams realized and un-realized but always free choices driven by the Great American Spirit to be Free and Succeed.

The town of Tucumcari itself got its start in 1901 as a tent city known first as “Ragtown” and later as “Six Shooter Siding” along the Chicago, Rock Island and Union Pacific Railroad. When the railroad turned the camp into a division point in 1908, the settlement was renamed Tucumcari after the nearby mountain. By 1910, Tucumcari was a major railroad center – complete with roundhouse, depot, and water tower. Not to mention more than 60 thriving businesses. The first businesses to open in 1902 were the Barnes and Rankin furniture store, the A. B. Simpson hardware, A. A. Blankenship’s livery barn, Pioneer Bakery, Arcade Restaurant, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel with rooms for $2 a day, the Owl Saloon, Weldon and Young Real Estate and Investments, Jackson and Foxworth Lumber Company, and the Exchange Bank. The birth of Route 66 in 1926 brought new travelers to Tucumcari by the carload. Wagon yards, livery stables, and blacksmith shops were soon replaced with gas stations, motor courts, gifts shops and cafes. Today, Tucumcari’s proximity to I-40 continues to attract travelers from all over the country.

As the town of Tucumcari continues to evolve, it remains committed to saving its rich history while building for economic growth for future generations. Unfortuately, many of the old motels now lie empty and dark, others now chronicle “American Owned” as the tight economy pits small business owners against each other struggling to survive knowing WiFi alone is not enough…

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